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Wantagh High School closed for two weeks

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In September, school districts across Nassau County opened up their doors for the academic year with strictly enforced social distancing guidelines. For local districts, such as Wantagh, Seaford and the Levittown school districts, those new guidelines included mandatory mask wearing, desk spacing, prohibiting congregating in large groups, banning locker use and maintaining a one-way flow of traffic in many of the schools’ hallways.

Students had to adjust to a new normal in the school buildng.

But no system is foolproof. Administrators and faculty came into the academic year careful and optimistic, but not oblivious. The inherent risk for those students who opted in to in-person schooling was alleviated as best it could be by the respective schools, nut now districts have had to respond to positive testing through various measures.

Maybe one of the most drastic safety measures taken recently has been by Wantagh High School, who announced at the tail end of last week that they would close temporarily. The high school then alerted its parents that it would suspend in-person classes for two weeks after an individual tested positive. The school is investigating the individual’s possible interactions with others in the building through contact tracing.

The decision to forego in-person classes comes one month after Wantagh’s Superintendent of Schools John C. McNamara released a letter to the public on Oct. 5 informing parents that a Wantagh Elementary School student tested positive for Covid-19.

Wantagh has had 40 new reported cases of Covid-19 in a seven-day span from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6, according to the most recent statistics gathered at press time.

The neighboring Seaford School District reported a positive Covid-19 test on Nov. 5 in a letter released by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adele Pecora. The individual that tested positive was a Seaford Middle School student.

The school quickly relayed the message to parents and, under guidance from the New York State Education Department at the Nassau County Department of Health (NCDOH), Seaford closed off all areas of the building that the student was said to have used and “thoroughly cleaned and disinfected those spaces.”

Pecora then wrote: “The NCDOH completed the contact tracing and due to the circumstances of this particular case and the implementation of masks, barriers and social distancing in the classrooms we have not been advised to quarantine the school at this point in time. Individuals who are considered to be close contacts will be contacted by the NCDOH and may be given different instructions. All schools in the district will be open on Friday, Nov. 6.”

According to the most recent statistics at press time, Seaford was reported to average 20.58 confirmed Covid-19 cases per 1000 residents and just a 1.81% increase in its 7-day average from the week prior.